News - Kia - Carnival

The Carnival is over!

Engine woes: Carnival's Rover-sourced K-Series V6 has come under scrutiny.

Kia confirms engine failure in 40 per cent of Carnivals sold before March 2002

Kia logo22 Jun 2005

AUSTRALIA’S most popular people-mover, the Kia Carnival, has struck engine trouble.

Kia Automotive Australia has confirmed that around 40 per cent of all Carnivals sold in Australia between the seven-seat wagon’s September 1999 release date and March 2002 have suffered engine failure.

With 7208 vehicles sold in that period, according to official VFACTS figures, the number of affected Carnivals could be higher than 3000.

Spokesman Edward Rowe said Kia Automotive Australia had been aware of the problem – which he described as "gasket failure that allows water into the cylinders" – for some time.

Mr Rowe said that rather than repair them, Kia would replace each affected engine with a reconditioned short (without transmission) engine free of charge and with no questions asked, providing the vehicle was under warranty.

In cases where the car’s new-vehicle warranty had expired, he said Kia would "cover costs proportional to what should have been the full expected life of components".

In both cases, Kia would offer affected owners, including those who bought their vehicles second-hand, a Carnival loan vehicle while their vehicle was off the road.

GoAuto has learned that some metropolitan Kia dealers are struggling to find space to accommodate the number of Carnivals waiting for replacement engines.

It is believed the problem arises when bore liners ‘fret’, or vibrate microscopically, within the engine’s cylinder block, compromising the cylinder-head gasket’s seal.

The first evidence of such a problem, which is believed to be due to the failure of cylinder liner adhesive, is the presence of water in the engine oil, followed by a gradual loss of power as the gasket deteriorates.

Kia said a recall had not been issued because the problem was not safety related and that it was impossible to know which vehicles were affected until they encountered problems.

For example, one car, employed as a taxi in Cairns, clocked up more than 300,000km before encountering a problem.

Mr Rowe claimed the NSW Department of Fair Trading said Kia Automotive Australia had gone "above and beyond" its duty of responsibility in the matter.

Carnival’s 130kW/220Nm 2.5-litre V6 is a K-Series engine supplied by the now-defunct Rover Group – it is not produced by Kia or its parent company Hyundai – and will be replaced in next year’s second-generation Carnival with a new 180kW 3.8-litre V6.

Carnivals in other markets, such as the United States Sedona, are not affected as they employ a different V6 or, in the case of most European examples, turbo-diesel power.

Released in Australia with a $29,990 recommended retail price, Carnival quickly outsold traditional people-mover sales leaders like the Toyota Tarago, Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Voyager.

It was Australia’s top-selling people-mover in 2000, 2001 and again last year, when some 5259 examples were sold. Carnival currently holds a massive 31 per cent share of the Australian people-mover segment – well ahead of Odyssey’s 25.7 per cent and the Tarago’s 12.2 per cent, with Holden’s Zafira, the Toyota Avensis and Chrysler Voyager each commanding around a 6.4 per cent share.

Carnival is claimed to be among Australia’s least expensive vehicles to run and repair and recently topped the NRMA’s low-speed accident repair cost survey, which named Carnival as the lowest-cost people-mover to repair, both as a totalcost and as a percentage of its new car cost.

Carnival’s low-speed accident repair cost was found to be around half that of its worst-case rival, as well as around half that of its nearest new-car price rival, the Hyundai Trajet, which employs a 131kW 2.7-litre V6.

Of all people-movers, Carnival’s was the only low-speed accident repair bill to decrease in the two years since the NRMA last completed the test.

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